Local employment at 4-year high – total jobs decline


TRI-CITIES, Tenn. – Employment rose to a four-year high in the two local metro areas in April and the unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 2.7%. At the same time, the economy lost 100 jobs from the previous month in the first signal local job creation is beginning to feel the effects of the FED’s inflation reduction efforts.

A labor market rule of thumb is when the monthly employment report and the payroll jobs report are not showing the same thing rely on the jobs report since it is a larger sample of market conditions. And a better market indicator than the unemployment rate is the labor force participation rate.

Currently, the region’s two metros have labor-force participation rates that are running 3.4% to almost 4% below the state’s 59.5% rate. The U.S. rate is 62.6%.

The current Census work status report shows 186,400 Tri-Cities residents in the 25-54 years-old prime working age group. Of that group, 76.7% worked during the past 12 months; 55.2% worked full time; 21.5% worked less than full time; and 23.3% did not work. The number of those not working was 43,402. The local share of prime working age adults who did not work is the highest among its neighboring combined statistical areas (Asheville, Chattanooga and Knoxville).

Despite employment gains, the region continues to have a labor shortage. According to the Jobs4TN website, there are 7,963 advertised jobs in NE TN. The top five firms looking for workers and the number of open jobs are:

Ballad – 897

Ingles – 234

Food City – 198

ETSU – 124

Tacata – 75

Sectors that lost jobs in April were: Education and Health Services, Transportation and Utilities, Retail Trade.

Sectors that gained jobs included: Construction, Professional and Business Services.

April job loss didn’t put a dent in the region’s recovery from the pandemic jobs loss. At the end of the month, there were 4,600 more jobs than any other April this decade.

The government was the region’s top employer in April, with 33,700 workers.

Here’s how jobs in the other sectors stacked up that month:

Education and Health Services – 31,700

Manufacturing – 29,400

Retail Trade – 26,500

Leisure and Hospitality – 24,500

Professional and Business Services – 24,300

Mining, Logging and Construction – 9,100

Financial Activities – 9,000

Other Services – 8,500

Transportation and Utilities – 6,300

Wholesale trade – 62,000

Information – 2,300

Categories: ECONOMY